Nigel’s October Newsletter

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Dear Constituent,

Welcome to my latest newsletter to keep you updated on my work in Parliament and around Amber Valley.

As always, you’ll find a selection of what I’ve been up to over the last month and details of upcoming events. You’ll also find the usual information about my columns and surgeries, and how to get in touch.

Jobs Fair Employment Success:

I was pleased to recently hold my fifth Jobs Fair at Ripley Leisure Centre, which brought more than eight hundred jobseekers and students together with local employers and training providers.

More than fifty stallholders attended, including a range of local employers such as Bombardier, trentbarton, Manthorpe, Severn Trent, Thorntons, Blue Arrow, Talkstaff Recruitment, Deb, Filigree Holdings, NHS Supply Chain, DHL, BPI, Tesco, HL Plastics, Owen Taylor, Gowercroft, Futures Housing Group and Derby County Football Club. The fair also played host to education, training and apprenticeships providers such as Derby College, Acorn Training, Vision Apprentices, The Derbyshire Network and Webs Training.

Thank you to everyone who attended and supported my Jobs Fair. Special thanks also to trentbarton, Amber Valley Borough Council, Places for People and Job Centre Plus for sponsoring the event.

I’m delighted that many constituents have already been employed or given trials and interviews for jobs, apprenticeships or training programmes as a result of the fair. This means that even more people in Amber Valley have the security of a regular job and pay packet, and we’re getting closer towards our target of full employment.

I will continue to hold Jobs Fairs and similar events to help even more people find work and training opportunities.

You can find more pictures from the day here.

Nigel's Jobs Fair on the 7th October 2016

Conference Update:

At the start of October, the Conservative Party met for its annual conference in Manchester. Key announcements from the Prime Minister during the week were:

Article 50 & Brexit: Many constituents have contacted me over the last few months to find out more about the timings and process for our exit from the European Union. I’m pleased that the Prime Minister has recently announced that Article 50 will be invoked by the end of March next year, thereby starting the formal process of leaving the EU.

The Government will also shortly introduce a Great Repeal Bill to remove the European Communities Act from the statute book on the day we leave the EU, meaning that the authority of EU law in Britain will end. We will then convert the body of existing EU law so that Parliament can amend, appeal and improve any laws it chooses to.

Getting immigration under control: Leaving the EU gives us an opportunity to control the numbers of people coming here from Europe and I’m pleased this Government will be consulting over the next few months on steps to reduce non-EU migration too across work and student visa routes.

More funding for the NHS and to tackle mental health issues: Alongside the £10 billion of extra funding for the NHS over this Parliament, £12.5 million over the next 4 years will be provided to ensure anyone with a mental health issue can get the help they need quickly, to ensure equality with physical health treatment standards.

Protecting those who cannot work: This Government will end the mandatory retesting of work capability for those with chronic health conditions that not only induces stress but does nothing at all to help.

In Parliament:

Better Broadband:

In the constituency, many residents and businesses have recently contacted me about the desperate need for better broadband. I know how frustrating poor and unreliable broadband connections are, so I agree. The UK has the highest superfast broadband coverage amongst the top five European economies, but I know more needs to be done to ensure that everyone in Amber Valley can have access to the broadband they require.

Earlier this year, in January, I co-signed the ‘BroadBad’ report calling on the regulator Ofcom to take radical action over the ‘natural monopoly’ too long enjoyed by BT Openreach. I’m pleased that Ministers are supporting this and pushing for a more independent service so that the UK leads the world with its digital infrastructure.

As a result, Ofcom are now looking into changes to Openreach, and the second reading of the Digital Economy Bill has just passed through the House. This will tackle some of the issues with poor broadband by adding a universal service requirement (giving you the legal right to request a 10Mbps broadband connection), allowing you to access house-by-house internet speed checks, making switching easier and automatically compensating you if things go wrong with your broadband.  I will continue to campaign for the greater competition and ambition needed to create the broadband service that constituents and businesses so rightly demand and need.

In the constituency, I also recently met with Digital Derbyshire to discuss their broadband roll out, which you can read more about here.

broadband

Midland Main Line Update:

During recent Transport questions in the House I asked the Rail Minister, Paul Maynard MP, for an update on the desperately needed electrification of the branch line that runs through the train stations at Langley Mill and Alfreton.

The Minister confirmed that the Government is investing significant sums in the Midland Main Line route over the next few years to 2019 to improve capacity and reduce journey times. New trains are also being introduced on the Leeds-Nottingham Northern service, which will cut journey times by 20% on the route.

I’m pleased that electrification of the line to encompass Langley Mill and Alfreton is being considered as part of the upcoming East Midlands franchise competition, which will focus on improving frequency and connectivity in our region, and I will continue to push for the line to be electrified as soon as possible during the upcoming consultation.

Gift Aid Text Donations – Small Charitable Donations & Childcare Payments Bill:

This month, I’ve also been pushing the Government for further change in the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme during its Second Reading and bill committee stages – particularly on the issue of Gift Aid on cashless donations.

I welcome the Bill’s inclusion of my previously suggested amendment to future proof the small donations scheme to ensure that charities that use modern, innovative ways to collect money such as contactless donations will still be able to benefit.

You can read more on the debate and the other changes proposed in the Bill here.

Backing business and trade:

During my summer visits, businesses in Amber Valley told me they wanted clarity about what our overall trading position with EU will be to help them in deciding what investment to make in the coming years.

I raised this question in the House with the new Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union. He reassured me that this Government is seeking the most open possible market with the European Union, whilst also bringing back control of our laws and control over immigration, and that the Government will continue to meet with companies from every sector to discuss the opportunities head. You can read the full answer here.

Supporting community pharmacies:

Following my meetings with many of the pharmacists in Amber Valley over the last few months to discuss the proposed changes to the sector, the Government recently released the plans for the future of community pharmacies. I’m pleased that this Government has listened to the concerns constituents raised with me and will be exempting pharmacies in rural and disadvantaged areas from the new funding settlement. You can read more about the plans here.

WASPI Petition Presentation:

This month I was pleased to present a petition to the House signed by 680 constituents asking for fair transitional arrangements for women born in the 1950s who have been affected by changes to the state pension age.

The Government will now consider the petition closely and provide a response in the coming months, which I will provide an update on when available. The Work and Pensions Select Committee is also conducting an inquiry into this issue and you can follow the progress of this here.

Public Accounts Committee:

In Public Accounts Committee meetings this month we’ve been looking into the value and success of apprenticeships under the Department for Education’s reformed programme which focuses on employer-led qualifications. You can read more about the inquiry here.

You can also find out more about upcoming PAC inquiries and evidence sessions here.

Columns:

You can find my latest Ripley & Heanor column, looking at what I’ve been doing in Parliament, here.

Street Watch:

If there are any street repairs in your area, such as potholes, pavement repairs or broken street lights, you can report these issues and concerns to me quickly and easily here so I can ask for the repairs to be investigated and addressed.

Surgeries:

I regularly hold surgeries to give you the opportunity to meet with me and discuss any concerns or problems you may have. These are held on Friday evenings between 5pm and 7pm.

If you would like to meet me and discuss any issues, the dates of my upcoming surgeries are:

  • Horsley – 4th November 2016
  • Codnor – 11th November 2016
  • Heage – 18th November 2016

Please contact my office on 01773 744341 to book an appointment for any of the above, or to arrange an alternative meeting.

Get in Touch!

As always, you can contact me by hitting the ‘reply’ button on this email, or you can ring my office on 01773 744341.

Twitter and Facebook

You can also follow me on Twitter @NigelMillsMP and like me on Facebook here to stay up to date with news and events in Amber Valley throughout the month.

Yours sincerely,